Mini hand tool cabinet #1: Scope and planning

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Blog entry by JSOvens posted 08-30-2014 07:26 AM 1972 reads 1 time favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Mini hand tool cabinet series Part 2: Hybrid milling »

Hello folks,

I’m starting a new project which should hopefully not take too much time. I’m on the finishing stages of my Ph. D. thesis and have been relying a bit more heavily on shop time to relieve my frustration, so the goal of this project is also partly to give me something relatively simple to do that I can spend 1/2 – 1 hour on at a time when I just need to get away from this accursed writing chair.

I don’t know if there’s sort of a rule of thumb as to how much writing is appropriate for these project series. The way I see it, these are like my journal entries that I don’t mind other people reading, so just as a forewarning, I am sometimes quite verbose, especially about background tales and thoughts and feelings about seemingly unrelated, or only slightly related topics. I think I will start other blog series as a home for most of these musings. In general, I’ll try to include enough pictures to tell the tale for those who prefer to prefer to read stories told through illustrations.

To give a bit of background, last year when I began this hobby, I thought woodworking was either done by hand or by power tool (I was in the power tool camp ALL THE WAY). Furthermore, I didn’t understand the concept of ‘you get what you pay for’ very well, so shied away from any of the more pricey tools (such as those perhaps found in places like Lee Valley). Times are now different. I have acquired the couple new (old) Stanley hand planes shown below, a No. 4 and a No. 5. They were each 25 CAD from Lee Valley. The wooden plane is one of those (German style?) horn planes. The sole is pretty worn and the mouth is very wide, I plan to use it as a scrubber. The local store had been accumulating antique tools for a few years and had a massive sale on them. Thousands of wooden (mostly moulding) planes were about $10 or only slightly more. I also bought a Veritas LA block (I wanted one premium so I would know what to shoot for when rehabbing the older planes). Anyways, I digress. The point of this tale is that rather than $5 saws and squares, I have started to lay down some real cash for my tools and want a place to store them rather than in a pile with my other cheap stuff on the bench. So I’m building a small tool cabinet. I plan to write about the rehabbing process in another series. I’ll post the link in the comments when I do.

On to the project at hand. Below is a SketchUp model of the cabinet. The interior (one side) measures something like 25” high by 18” wide by about 9” deep (total) when closed. I wanted it high enough that I could store up to a Stanley No. 7 or 8 if I ever acquired one, as well as my 24” Veritas straight edge (shown as the long grey rectangle to the left). As it stands, It will comfortably fit my two new Stanley planes, by LA block as well as a little trim plane I have. On the door, there is enough room to store up to 8 chisels (with widths up to 1-1/2”); I only have 5 (cheap) chisels, so there’s plenty of room for expansion if I get more. Other than my Dozuki which is shown in the model, I have other little things I’ll have to make hangers for on the walls—- I’ll deal with those when I get that far.

As shown in the sketch, I will be using finger joints (hand cut) for the main case, and a simple frame-and-panel door construction—- probably with tongue-and-groove joinery. The back panel will simply be rabbetted in.

This feels like a good place to end for now. Next time I’ll talk about my wood choices and milling process. I am still knew to the idea of blogging, not just about woodworking but in general, so I’m always open to advice or suggestions. I will state that I’m not trying to become a ‘professional blogger’ of any sort, but I feel like my ramblings should at least hold some entertainment value if people are going to take the time to read them.

Thanks for reading!

-- Jeffrey S. Ovens, Canada

3 comments so far

View Matt's profile


190 posts in 1594 days

#1 posted 08-30-2014 02:02 PM

Im kind of at the same place, except it is work driving me insane.

Ive decide to go fo something larger so I have room to grow. It will be a little shorter than this:

I didn’t want to build it and immediately run out of room.

-- I do this for fun.

View JSOvens's profile


78 posts in 1832 days

#2 posted 08-30-2014 05:26 PM

Matt, I had very seriously considered going larger so I would have more room to grow, but don’t really see myself growing very fast in the near future with hand tools. I left room to maybe acquire one more bench plane and there should be room to hang a couple smaller specialty planes if I get them (e.g. a rabbet or shoulder plane).

In that link you posted, I quite like those opening panels inside the case giving more hanging space, if I build one of these again in the future I may try to incorporate that. Will you be/have you started documenting your build progress? I’d be interested in following along.

-- Jeffrey S. Ovens, Canada

View Matt's profile


190 posts in 1594 days

#3 posted 09-05-2014 03:05 AM

Hoping to buy the materials for it tomorrow or Saturday. Should be about $100 US or so + hardware. I will definitely post the progress.

-- I do this for fun.

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